I was watching TV the other day and a woman was talking to Matt lauer about PTSD, and she said her goal as a therapist was to take the patient back to a time when things were good. Good? She’s talking about a time when there were not monsters in the dark, or there was not a Taliban shooting back and when you are a soldier with ptsd or a person who was present on 9/11 there is a time back when,a time when the world was OK. It was a time when the patient … the person didn’t wake screaming in the middle of the night a time when a car backfiring didn’t cause you to push your family to the ground and yell contact.
For every returned soldier, for every 9/11 survivor or family member of a lost soul I wish them that peace. Noone who has ever pulled a trigger and ended a life can ever forget, it changes you for ever but there are tools, devices, and systems that a person can use to let them get along with life.
But there is another whole side to PTSD, the rape survivor, the molestation survivor the child who watched a parent kill a parent and yes for some of them there is also a time back when to aim for. There is also another very large group of people for whom there is no place back when, no time when it was good.
So many people for whom the monster started coming into their bed when they were 1,2 and3 years of age, and it never crawled out until they were big enough to fight and push them back. I know one child who from the age of two and half to three was raped daily, sometimes by their monster and sometimes he shared them. The terror went on continuously until that person was 14 plus and able to throw that person out. So for people like that the best therapist in the world will never help, they can’t because how do you expect someone to remember 1 year of age or 2 years of age ? How do you help a person go back to a normal life, when for them normal is an adult raping your body that is so small it is still wrapped in a diaper?
Normal is crying and screaming and sobbing for a parent, but imagine their confusion and sheer terror when the monster is daddy or mommy or grandpa or in some cases the big brother you idolize!
Stop putting PTSD into one small box, stop saying”crazy soldiers crying about their job” I guarantee you even if you have never ever met a soldier, you still know someone who has PTSD and it has nothing to do with a war with soldiers, but trust me as someone who has lived with PTSD all my life PTSD is a war it’s a war inside your mind, it’s a war that eats your soul and eats the souls of everyone you now and love. It eats their soul because you won’t let them in, even when they want to help but you don’t know how to help yourself so how can you tell others to help you.
The old saying it takes a village to raise a child is so apropos with a person living with PTSD, because with 22 returned veterans killing themselves every day and with teen suicide going through the roof in it’s numbers PTSD is as much a plague killing this nation as any blood born illness has ever been. We go to black tie dinners for aids fund raising on the same day the republican party says the government should not have to pay for service dogs for veterans, and if your injury as a soldier is emotional, if you have suspected PTSD as of yesterday there are 300,000 cases waiting for evaluation not treatment just to start the process with a minimum time expected to wait of 125 days with some waiting as long as 4 years.
In the private world a service dog can cost as much as $50,000 and the waiting list to start the process is longer than the militaries for mental health evaluation, so in fact to correct my previous statement a little PTSD isn’t necessarily the killer as much as the apathy and ignorance of the people with the power to help is.
When you see your loved on zone out, when they seem to reach for a gun or a knife that’s not there in times of danger, remember please don’t judge they have been to hell and their not necessarily all the way back yet so if you can if you have the stamina be patient and welcome them back with love when they come out of where their demons took them. I have my Ella she has gotten pretty good at being there when the screaming stops in the dark hours, I have two basic wishes one is you never now the hell that is PTSD, the second is if we share some of the demons you have someone waiting that loves you as much as my Ella loves me.
peace be with you